A year and a half ago in 2015, Church Road Winery celebrated a victory after their 2013 Grand Reserve Hawke’s Bay Syrah was awarded the Trophy for Best New World Red Wine at the Japan Wine Challenge 2015.
I needed to follow up with tasting the newly-released vintage of that same wine, and see if consistency in quality was here fith the 2014 vintage.
Church Road winery also scored a national trophy with another of their Syrah being awarded Champion Wine of Show Trophy and Champion Syrah Trophy at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards with the 2013 Church Road McDonald Series.
So How Good is 2014 Church Road Grand Reserve Syrah?
This Kiwi Syrah comes in a very very dark red color. Yes, it’s black to the core, densely red, slightly purple to the rim, suggesting we are here faced with a wine with serious concentration, probably quite youthful still for a dense red.
The nose though, gives away lively flavors, unlike some super-dense young wines that tend to be very shy at smelling them.
Dark ripe cherry, blackberry, vanilla and black pepper are intensely dominant to the aromatic profile. It smells like rich and ripe dense fruit, with well-integrated oak, a ripe and generous Syrah, but not on the liqueur-like kind of profile, more on the fresh fruit and spicy style.
The palate here is clearly opulent and rich. It is dry, but there is so much body, richness to the feel, and opulent ripe dark-berry fruit, that it feels luscious and generous. There’s a wealth of roasted cocoa, rich vanilla, that combines with the ripe fruit and the lively peperry and sweet spices.
Big body we’ve said, but also dense yet very smooth tannins. Again, the oak is very well integrated. Although it feels a solid amount of new oak has gone into making this Syrah, it is nicely contained by such a concentrated body and rich texture.
A generous, spicy and oaky Syrah it is, filled with many layers of flavors, on the opulent and plentiful side of the style.
Some may find it even better than the 2013 vintage I also reviewed here (2013 Church Road Grand Reserve Syrah) as it does feel fuller, richer and more concentrated), but I personally found that the ripeness level and warmth in this 2014 made the wine a little less lively and characterful, hence the 93/100 against last year’s 94.
When to drink?
Give it a couple of years…. Really… to allow this big generous wine to settle in inside its bottle and develop some further confidence.
From there it should reinforce its savoriness and spiciness with time, and develop extra layers of complexity with another 5 to 8 years.
Between 2019 and 2029 that puts us for optimal enjoyment, although I am sure this will taste well and be very interesting to experience up to 2050 I’m sure for the most adventurous and/or lucky of us.